Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

Frist puppy socialization class. Concerns (long)

795 Views 12 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  DaySleepers
Let's start with some background. I adopted my girl (american pit terrier) about 2.5 months ago from a animal shelter. I had planned on a older dog next year but enter a global pandemic and me off work with 3 teenage children one with autism all day every day. She is my first dog ever, so I know I took on a challenging breed to start. That said I am a bit of an over thinker/ planner/researcher and none of the major breed complaints (prey drive, gameness, energy lvls, possible da) was deal breaker, especially when she bonded with my autistic son immediately. Being home with nothing better to do and a dog that was clearly going to be hard for me to physically force to do.. anything.. as an adult I focused on training especially leash manners. She was tethered to me her first 2 weeks at home and has had consistent (positive) reinforcement to be aware of me at basically all times. Normally I would have enrolled in classes, but they were canceled, so I researched training strategies and landed on a strict nilf policy with positive reinforcement and redirects. She is very clever and eager to please. (One of the traits that made me decide to adopt a pit terrier.) She knows all the basics now to be in public in dog friendly areas, shes still a little over excited and licky (not bitey or da, just pulls to get to people after eye contact/ consent and after intro will raise herself carfully on her hind legs to hand height if peting stops) but she's not even 5 months so yea I'm very happy with our manners. Now classes are open, I tried to get her in a socialization class with older dogs, but they said I had to be in puppy obedience classes first. I was mostly ok with that thinking they would have similar temperamented dogs (she s alot, and training is high energy and often loud) then I found out my mom was in the same class. Her chug is 3 weeks younger then pepper, but has never even been taught to be on a leash correctly, mom uses a retractable (shudder) much less manners. He minds me better then her when I am over (which is rarely because I cant watch the way she handles him and there was an incident). I'm the one that taught him his name and to sit - the only command he knows reliably even in his home.
Now to the questions. Is this normal. Having such a range in dogs be in the same class ie. Size, 10-35 lbs; energy lvl pepper can play/run/wrestle for an hour and still have enough energy for a light traing session, copper (the chug) doesn't even make it around the block before its nap time. training level/ needs cooper is way excitable and needs soft low tones (part of why mom has issues with him) pepps needs high energy praise/ reinforcement as she is only treat motivated when I under feed, and not always even then. Add to all that Cooper is also bitey, especially with with mom (she was bopping his nose till I ratted her out to the trainer lady), although not usually with me. I give him treats and praise pets for sitting on my lap and being good. I DID get bit by him one time while pulling him off pepper (the last time I brought her over and the incident refrenced above) when she was tryng to back away behind me. mom just watched. Pepps has to pay enough attention to me to respond to call off commands (I can't move her if she digs in) to meet other dogs, but he ignores mom whenever it suits him. So not cool (side note why can her ankle biter get away with that when my pit would be villinized) leaving a nasty mark (it looks like it ll scar) and a bruise that took 2 weeks to heal.
If this is a normal range (assuming that these are the extreme ends of the class), how do I avoid being a distraction with our high energy training, and keep pepps from picking up bad habits (like over barking).
I had assumed it would be more like high school with segregation based on skill level/needs. We met an older dog and my girl obeyed both me and her signals in an intake while cooper jumped all over tgat poor dog and had to be handled by the trainer. I just cant help feeling like I'm going in so that pepper can learn division and cooper is still eating paste.
Maybe.. ok prolly I am over thinking this cause, well, I over analyze everything. I am aware I am new at this, I believe I can benefit from more points of view, it's the stark contrast that has me confused as to how this is going to work. I want to trust they have this, it's just not my strong suit. I could really use some tips/reassurances that this is normal.
See less See more
1 - 7 of 13 Posts
So, that happened and I feel very conflicted. There were 2 absent, and there was us cooper, and a shy boy named finn. He's a 6 mo old healer mix, but very reserved. I'm betting my mom gave a very different pic of the encounter cause both other dogs were off leash (not even dragging) and SHE (trainer) used my lead to keep control of pepps for the play. I did not like that much. Cooper, as expected rushed in being too aggressive, and mom exercised 0 control over him. I'm not saying he didn't listen to the back offs from the other dogs, although pepper is now big enough to lock cooper down so she basically laid on him till he ran settled. He was just so uncontrolled and since pepps was on leash she didnt even get a full introduction to finn. Pepper minded the handler, didn't leash pull or bark, maintained submissive postures (laying down) showed the ability to wait on my release, and come to me when called (this was admittedly later when we moved to the training portion). No treats required. No other dog displayed any of that. I understand she has the potential to be a lot, and can see why the trainer didn't want her off leash right away but I am offended that she didnt at least let me handle my dog. Am I over thinking this? Is the normal? Should I keep going?
See less See more
I tdied to be clear when we talked that, due to the fact I simply dont know any calm dogs that act in an appropriate manner, its all puppy's and half socialized smaller dogs that I have to manage their interactions I wanted her to learn to respect older/calmer/shyer dogs. I was told I had to go to puppy classes first though.
2/3 of the class was pepper on lead (it is a slightly long one, as it's her teather lead made to wrap around the waist hands free, and she holding it not wearing it) allowing her access to about 1/2 the room. she was indeed narrating her play, but it was entirely cooper running around like a crazy dog off leash without mom having the sence to check him. She had pepps and finn was cower at his owners feet. I will admit that seriously had me offended that cooper was allowed to barrel from 1 dog to another while my girl was laying in the middle of the floor requesting an invite to approach finn, and when it was allowed, cooper was not restrained and barreled in. (This is my absolute biggest issue, and I told her so after class the point is mannerd and there is NO situation in which that is appropriate) Poor Finn was so stressed by copper leaping at his face, he was giving almost constant back offs which she was narrating and monitoring but allowing. if he had been my dog it would not have gone so well. Near the end cooper got extra aggressive with pepper, ignored her back offs and escalated tone. I got really uncomfortable and stated it was getting too much right before they called it borderline, and I indicated this was where I moved into a position to intervene. She did not. I was about ready to check that rat myself (appropriatly) when my sweet girl basically body checked him to the floor and held him down till he shut up. Then he ran off crying. The lady 20 min consisted of a talk on body language, growling, and other doggie signals. It was all stuff I knew, but fair enough. Next we did the thing for the class which was colar grabs. That's where the cheese came in. They provide treats and everyone rotated around the room. That was not bad practice as I have NEVER let anyone teach over pepps head to grab her collar. I or the kids grab her harness from the side. that's the handle position.
My husband doesn't want to go back. I am trying to convince him to try it 1 more time due to the absences and whatever mom told them going in, since now they have first hand experience with the situation. I hate comming across like my dog is better (behaved) then the class but I've taken this seriously since the moment I got her, and had the time to thoroughly (over) research. She IS better behaved and I do know how to communicate better with her. Still she had fun. I was just a nervous wreck.
See less See more
Oh I forgot to mention one other thing that seemed accually harmful. As I mentioned she is our first dog, so I was feeling my way through things and apparently we use different behavior markers then standard.. opps. I kept having to correct her use of things like good (girl) as that's a soft and hard completion marker respectively as it feels naturally up, with yes (netrual tone) being a maintain marker. Sits need a up tilt to the hand, ups are down tilts. She Likes the handsigns and i am more and more using them without the verbals on that lead (it's what I use in public so I can request a sit or a wait while talking with a person. ) she understands is more a request then a command then and typically obeys the spirt of the command rather then the letter.. if that makes since. She might lay rather then sit or mibe to the side and sniff grass rather then wait at attention for instance. She was responding to signals the handler didn't know she was throwing. She saw me using them later during the lecture (there were 2 trainers 1 floated 1 as by pepper the whole time) so that I wasnt interrupting, complete with soft rewards for execution. She didnt say anything about that though. That was the most stressful part. She apologized for making me uncomfortable, but that's not exactly the point. I just dont know...
See less See more
Im from a fairly small town. Right now most things are closed due to the pandemic, other then 1 on 1s. Hopefully in the next month things will open up but amt I seem to have the option of this (its through the shelter that I adopted out of) or me figuring it out myself more loosely in puppy parks (which I dont want to do) and using pet stores as training (this is what I've been doing). She had peppers lead and was attempting to provide verbal feedback for good play and disengages, which is fine, she was just using the wrong markers and pepps was confused. Example: pepps forces a disengage, copper leaves she gets a good girl which is signnal either that we are leaving or she will be allowed off leash now (phase 1 complete) do she sits in front of the handler for further direction. Then cooper blindsided her making her confused and upset. She was also gesturing casually in ways that resemble my signals , and since I've trained her to respond to my gestures especially on that lead she was confused. My husband says I over mark, and he might be right. she will look back at me (or the person holding the lead) for them if they are not given, though, which she was doing. Remember she had her lead for at least 1/2 hour while narrating the situation. I never allow that. Play is broken and I call her off or at least to a sit/calm state often. if her attention wanders play ends. so she tends to be very focused on the person with the lead. As most other dogs we play with are mimumly trained smaller dogs with.. lax .. handlers I thought it the safest course.
See less See more
So I've had some time to calm down and think. First off: I'm clearly an overprotective pet mom, and I'll need to address that at some point, there are reasons, many of the valid, but it's not good for either of us. I do feel better about being less hands on, with on leash meets now, So that's good. I think I'll give it the benefit of the doubt for another class. Next week is a holiday so itll be the week after. I stil dont like her taking pepps, but it Is easier to observe from the outside, and i didn't want her off leash anyway maybe dragging if things went well. For the most part her having the leash was a non issue as the wrong feedback cues/ accidental signals didnt matter, other then to stress me out. I get that now that I've calmed down. it was that tackle at the end. Pepper looked so betrayed (you know the look) when that dog barreled into her while she was focused on her handler expecting feedback like she was trained to do. Then them not intervening when I would have made it worse. I dont think she realized that pepper didnt see cooper comming, which caused a quick escalation. Still pepps managed to correctly check cooper so no harm done, other then to my nerves. lol
I still disagree with the way copper was handled, but mom seems to have at least realized that he was way over the top. She asked me to help her with some leash training so we went to the pet store with me handling the lead and met a little (more restrained) bulldog pup. I showed her the way I handle pepps, forcing pauses to keep him calm when he started getting over excited. he did well and managed a proper greeting on lead. She never would have asked before. I just feel bad for fiin. Given I was only watching when cooper was with him (and not pepper which was a large portion of the class) so I may not have the full story there.
Bright side, one of the ladies that works there adopted peppers sister (who is almost 10lbs lighter then my girl lol) and she had a pic of thier parents. Please enjoy some puppy pics for the feedback!! can you see the resemblance?


See less See more
1 - 7 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.